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Should I Buy Bonds Now ^NEW^


Yields on high-grade corporate bonds appear compelling. However, from a credit-spread perspective, we see too little compensation above risk-free Treasuries given the late-cycle risks in the market.Spreads do have room to widen, but a renewed investor appetite for higher-quality bonds may put a ceiling on how wide spreads could drift.




should i buy bonds now



We expect tighter financial conditions to crimp corporate finances broadly. Rising stars (company upgrades from high yield to investment grade) outpaced fallen angels (downgrades from investment grade) by a wide margin over the past two years. Still, we expect more downgrades in 2023, especially in lower-quality cyclical segments. The depth and duration of any market downturn would determine the impact, but we see that most companies are prepared for a normal recession.Within a more modest allocation to investment grade, we see value in higher-quality issues within financials, utilities, and noncyclical industries. We prefer noncyclical companies because they tend to retain earnings resilience during economic downturns. Though bonds of cyclical companies can have higher spreads at challenging times, they currently trade in line with noncyclicals, another reason we see noncyclicals as the better bet.


Some stabilization in U.S. Treasury rates could be a catalyst for emerging markets (EM) inflows. We saw that occur over the last few months of 2022 during a period of light EM bond issuance, and historical data suggest an improving trend. That should bolster the supply/demand picture for EM, as we see another year of net negative supply.Our more favorable view on the sector late last year benefited from the 125 bps rally in spreads, but it leaves us less constructive today with valuations no longer cheap.Country fundamentals are broadly stable, but we anticipate significant credit differentiation as the global economy slows down in 2023. This will create opportunities for relative value and active management.Our preference for higher-quality bonds is balanced by the fact that spreads in investment-grade EM are very tight and additional borrowing is likely. The high-yield segment of EM offers much more compelling valuations but is also the most vulnerable to further economic disruption.We see 2023 as a market where the best strategy is to be defensive but agile, with enough liquidity to act on new opportunities that arise.


With the Fed making significant progress in hiking interest rates, headwinds should moderate in 2023. Following a year with $119 billion of outflows from municipal funds and ETFs, we expect the tide to turn.


After all, if individual investors and advisors had allocations to municipals with yields barely over 1% at the beginning of 2022, then they should now salivate at the prospect of yields exceeding 3% (before adjusting for tax benefits). With tax-loss harvesting opportunities ending, we expect that high-earning investors will be motivated to increase their tax-exempt holdings over time. Higher yields not only mean greater income but also greater portfolio stability if a deeper recession transpires.The tax-exempt primary bond market was busy at the start of 2022, but higher rates stunted the pace of issuance later on, consistent with our forecast. The supply picture going forward is uncertain, as usual, yet future issuance will likely remain subdued as the cost of borrowing is higher and municipal balance sheets are still flush with cash from pandemic-era stimulus.Both inflows and lower supply should support municipal valuations in 2023. The quick 4.1% rally in the fourth quarter indicated that these effects are underway. The rebound may lure more investors back with attractive yields and reduce the possibility of negative returns this year. With tax-equivalent yields of 6.0% (or meaningfully higher for residents in high-tax states who invest in corresponding state funds), municipals offer great value compared with other fixed income sectors and potentially even equities, especially with the odds of a recession increasing.


While 2022 price movement was almost entirely driven by rates and technicals, fundamentals and credit selection will come to the fore in 2023. Investors who might be wary of a broader municipal credit sell-off in recessionary conditions should know that last year's outflow cycle already drove spreads wider.


Note: Chart represents change in yields above U.S. Treasuries of similar duration for U.S. corporate bonds, and the difference in yields between AAA and BBB rated segments of the municipal market.


As always, there will inevitably be winners and losers. But an environment like this is where:1) Diversification should preserve value and 2) expert credit selection can find opportunities to outperform the market.


Yes, you can. When you file your tax return, you can tell the IRS you want to save part or all of your refund and have the rest sent to your checking account. You can save part or all of your refund by submitting Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases)PDF when you file your return. Follow the instructions on Form 8888 to tell the IRS to make a direct deposit of the amount you designate to an IRA, to buy U.S. savings bonds, to make a direct deposit to a savings or checking account or other savings vehicles, or to request a paper check.


No, you don't need to open an account in advance with the Treasury Department. Complete and file the Form 8888 with your tax return. The IRS will arrange for your U.S. savings bonds to be mailed to you.


No, you don't need to have a bank account to purchase I bonds with your federal tax refund. If you purchase I bonds with your tax refund, you can elect to have any remaining refund amount not used to purchase bonds mailed to you as a paper check.


You can use all or part of your tax refund to purchase I bonds. Your request for bonds must be in increments of $50. Any remaining refund amount not used to purchase bonds will be mailed to you as a paper check or you may elect to have the remaining amount direct deposited into a checking or savings account.


Series I U.S. Savings Bonds are sold under this program. They are a low-risk, liquid savings product that earn interest and provide protection from inflation. Although savings bonds are not marketable in that they cannot be bought or sold in secondary security markets, they can be redeemed for principal and accrued earnings at any time after 12 months. See details below.


You can buy savings bonds in increments of $50. You buy them at face value, meaning if you pay $50 using your refund, you get a $50 savings bond. This calendar year, you can buy up to a total of $5,000 in paper series I savings bonds with your refund. Any unused amount of your refund can be sent to you in a paper check, or you can elect to have the remaining refund direct deposited into an account of your choice.


Example: Bill is entitled to a $2,500 federal income tax refund. He decides to save $1,000 of the refund by buying savings bonds, to save another $1,000 by having the IRS direct deposit that amount to his IRA, and have the IRS direct deposit the remaining $500 to his checking account. Bill gives the IRS these instructions by completing Form 8888 and attaching it to his Form 1040. On the Form 8888, he checks the appropriate checking or savings boxes, gives the IRS the routing and account numbers for his IRA and checking accounts and completes the information specified in the Form 8888 instructions for the bond purchase. Six $50 savings bonds, one $200 savings bond and one $500 savings bond will be mailed to him.


Savings bonds are designed as longer-term investments, and generally cannot be redeemed during the first 12 months after you buy them, unless you live in an area affected by a disaster, such as a flood, fire, hurricane or tornado. Waivers for areas affected by disasters are announced on the TreasuryDirect.gov website. If you redeem a savings bond within the first five years, the three most recent months' interest will be forfeited. After five years, no penalty will apply.


Yes. Savings bonds purchased with a tax refund will be issued as paper bond certificates in your name. If you are married and filed a joint return, the savings bonds will be issued in your name and your spouse's name. If you purchase savings bonds for someone else, the bonds will be issued in the name(s) that you listed on Form 8888.


Savings bond interest is exempt from state and local income tax. Savings bond interest is subject to federal income tax; however, taxation can be deferred until redemption, final maturity, or other taxable disposition, whichever occurs first. You also have the option of claiming interest annually for federal income tax purposes. Savings bonds are not exempt from any applicable estate, inheritance, gift or other excise taxes, whether federal or state. Tax benefits also may be available when redemption amounts are used to pay education expenses.


Qualified taxpayers may be able to exclude all or part of the interest earned from eligible savings bonds issued after 1989 when paying qualified higher education expenses. Savings bonds must be issued in the name of a taxpayer age 24 or older at the time of issuance. Married couples must file jointly to be eligible for the exclusion. Other restrictions and income limits apply. See Publication 970 for more information.


The Bureau of the Fiscal Service is authorized to replace lost, stolen or destroyed savings bonds. You can file a claim by writing to: Treasury Retail Securities Services, PO Box 214, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214, completing FS Form 1048PDF. You should keep records of your savings bond serial numbers, issue dates, and social security or taxpayer identification numbers in a safe place. This information will help speed up the replacement process.


Your savings bonds are ordered after the IRS completes processing your tax return. Once ordered, it may take up to three weeks for your savings bonds to arrive in the mail. If you're having a portion of your refund deposited directly into your bank account, you may receive your refund before your savings bonds arrive by mail. 041b061a72


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